The Olyroos have progressed to the knockout stages of the AFC U23 Championship overnight, securing a 1-1 draw with Bahrain to top Group A.
In yet another head-scratching performance from the Aussies, City youngster Ramy Najjarine netted the opener with a fairly composed finish past the oncoming Bahraini keeper.
Parity was restored just before half time when Bahrain’s Mohamed Marhoon scored from a free-kick, which gave his side the momentum to dominate most of the attacking opportunities in the second half, but the Australian defence held steadfast to keep it at 1-1.
Here’s how our City representatives went:
Another 90 minutes for our new first-choice keeper, but another unconvincing one at that.
Once again, Glover didn’t have a whole lot to do, with only a small handful of comfortable stops and one great reflex save after half-time.
The goal he did concede, however, was truly bewildering. With Bahrain earning a free-kick close to the edge of the box, Glover’s wall was positioned smack-bang in the middle of the goal, which: a) assumably blocked most of Glover's view of the shot and b) left both sides of the goal open, meaning he’d have to react quickly to whichever side the ball went. The poor wall-placement cost him dearly, with the Bahraini strike ending up in the back of the net despite his diving effort.
It’s not as if these international performances were going to be the deciding factor in his selection as City’s starting goalkeeper – not with the way Bouzanis is playing at the moment anyway – but Glover’s not been producing to the same level as he had been in the A-League.
Probably Australia’s most dangerous attacking player last night and got his deserved reward with a 34th-minute goal.
Najjarine was played through on goal by an excellent, defence-splitting pass from Rene Piscopo in midfield and the youngster finished the chance with composure, tucking the ball just to the side of the goalkeeper.
Aside from that, Najjarine tested the keeper several more times throughout the match, but was ultimately substituted off in the 79th minute.
Despite being incorrectly named as a starter on the pre-game lineup graphic, Metcalfe again found himself on the bench last night against Bahrain and never made it onto the pitch. Hopefully he’ll see more game time in the knockout stages.
Not named in the matchday squad, assumably due to load management having not long recovered from an injury.